To voters in this hard-luck town where stable factory jobs and the health care that came with them have long since disappeared, change looked good a year ago. Change came not only from President Obama, who narrowly won this swing state, but also from a millworker-turned-high school civics teacher who had no political experience but ran on a promise to bring a progressive everyman's sensibility to Congress.
Fueled by the liberal grass roots, Democrat Larry Kissell stitched together a winning message about jobs and kitchen-table concerns, including rising health insurance costs, and he rode the Obama wave to unseat a five-term GOP congressman by 11 percentage points. Democrats here rejoiced. Finally, they were sending to Washington a representative to fight for their interests -- and to help enact the new president's agenda.